The Sidney Crosby speculation game has become quite the monotonous exercise. Report surfaces, conflicting report surfaces, agent refutes ‘Crosby shut down’ claims, Shero dances around an honest status update, repeat. A full recovery by Crosby from a January concussion is in the best interest of the NHL and anyone that cares about it. Whether you’re a Crosby fan or not matters nil, he’s the best player in the world and the last thing we need is the face of the game walking around with his brains oozing out of his ear holes.

Speculation was running high again on Monday, with an East Coast report claiming Crosby’s recovery had hit a snag while No. 87′s people offered their standardized refrain: “Sidney hasn’t been shut down by anyone”.

The Toronto Star’s Cathal Kelly drew some inspiration from this week’s set of conflicting Crosby reports, suggesting that No. 87 should just walk away from the game now:

Why would Crosby risk an invalid’s life in order to return to a game he has already conquered?

There are no goals left for him in the game. At best, all he achieves from now on is more of the same. He still has an entire life to lead after hockey, whether it ends tomorrow or in a decade. What’s in the balance is how capable he will be of leading it fully.

Ending a career this glorious so soon would be a kind of tragedy, if we can risk using that word.

It would be a huge blow to the player, and a transient one for his admirers. There will always be another hockey hero. That’s a constant. Hockey may think it needs Sidney Crosby, but it surely doesn’t need him crippled.

Will he return? Probably.

Should he? Ask Dave Scatchard in a few years time.

The fact remains that we know very little about the exact nature of Crosby’s status. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Crosby’s camp have kept a tight lid on this jar since No. 87′s fateful meetings with David Steckel’s shoulder and Victor Hedman’s gigantic frame. We know he’s been working out, and we also know that the dead of summer can incite journalists and bloggers alike to act on even the most vague tidbit of information.

Kelly’s not wrong in his argument by any means, but he leans on the misfortunes of Dave Scatchard to draw a comparison to potential lasting effects Crosby could face. Granted, Kelly makes the distinction between a fringe player like Scatchard and superstar like Crosby, but sticks to his call for retirement for the 24-year old. It’s not like anyone was calling for Jonas Hiller to retire amid a battle with vertigo-like symptoms, even though former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett was forced to walk away following his own troubles with dizziness.

The Penguins’ secretive approach throughout Crosby’s recovery has been frustrating for fans and media alike, but Shero and co. couldn’t have handled this any better. The one constant throughout Crosby watch has been the team’s insistence that a full recovery is expected, although a timeframe for said recovery remains elusive. This is an era in which far too many players are either rushed back into action or dishonest about their status in an attempt to return early. All we know is that Crosby will not play NHL hockey until he’s 100%, any talk of retirement based on questionable reporting is premature and alarmist.

He’s not No. 88, he’s No. 87. Let’s see how this recovery plays out and then make a call on Crosby’s long-term future from there.


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Brad Marchand has his Cup parade planned, but he’s still waiting on a new deal. [Chronicle Herald]

Loser Domi offers a personal spin on the tale or Rick Rypien and it’s outstanding and honest. [Barry Melrose Rocks]

Bruins switch ad agencies, but the bear will stay. [Boston Herald]

Oilers hire a Sutter? Oilers hire a Sutter. [Lowetide]

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This is Nylithia, they’ll make yer ears bleed.

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